Atlanta Hawks Torture Thunder with Historic Offensive Output in First Half

I actually went to this game with my brother tonight. We had great seats not far behind the Thunder bench. Primarily we were there to watch Trae Young.

I would guesstimate there were maybe 9,000 in attendance to watch one of the most electric players in the NBA. I would also guesstimate the Thunder fans there all had former O State player Lindy Waters as their No. 1 star of the game with a team high performance of 26 points.

Final score…. Atlanta 136 – Thunder 118. It wasn’t that close.

To Lindy’s credit he’s really moved the overall needle on his game from his days at O State with Mike Boynton. I was genuinely impressed.

The Thunder were basically out of this game about five minutes in as Trae Young and his mates torched the defenseless Thunder for a team record 85 points in the first half.

Trae played 18 minutes in the first half and had an efficient 30 points. The Hawks were leading by around thirty at halftime and our primary concern was how many minutes Coach Nate McMillan would give Trae in the second half without giving the appearance of humiliating Thunder developmental coach Mark D or Coach Squinty as he is now being referred to on some Thunder forums which aren’t managed by Sam Presti.

To Nate McMillan’s credit, he unlike the Thunder brass gave those in attendance something for their time and money as he allowed Trae to play all twelve third period minutes.

Trae finished with 41 points in thirty minutes. Quite frankly on this night if Trae had desired so he could have gone for 70 points like Devin Booker did in a game in January.

Hell…there was one point late in the first period the people in our section were starting to chart the possibility of Trae going off for 81 points like Kobe back in 2006.

Trae’s father was in our section. Pretty calm dad I thought. My behavior was impeccable. I didn’t bring the New Orleans’ Aint’s bag and pretty much kept myself in check because like I wrote at one point late in the first period, I thought Trae was going to go off for a seventy or better point night. I was just taking in the potential history of the game.

That first period had a surreal aura to it.

Amazingly…the Thunder had 31 assists for the game. I never would have guessed that just watching the game raw.

After the game we did something neither of us have done this season, we listened to the Thunder postgame on the Sports Animal. I have to tell you something I felt sorry for those guys. You could tell they were embarrassed to be on the air trying to make the game seem somewhat legitimate as an NBA game. I actually felt bad for them.

They had one caller for the post game call in segment and that was the blathering female Alex who btw in no way is the sultry Candace Parker.

I know that comment will strike some as a ban worthy offense, but since I’m on my own blog…I’m pretty sure I’ll still be alive on the blog when I wake up tomorrow morning.

Only six games left in this Thunder season, so if you were doubting there is a God…there’s some proof for you to confirm his/her existence.

We’re headed to Denver this week-end to spend time with the grandchildren and I’m also hoping my son will take me to the iconic sports bar Shoney’s in downtown to watch the Duke-North Carolina game. You gotta go there if you’re ever in Denver. Very iconic. It’s actually owned by an OU alum.

Have a great week-end at your Final Four party.


Will Smith-Chris Rock, Op-Ed

This was certainly awkward. My wife and I haven’t watched an Oscar’s show since Covid. We haven’t been to a movie theatre since Covid as well. Like so many Americans with Netflix and other aps we’ve created our own movie theatre in our home.

We used to go to a dinner party with a couple and watch the show. But to be honest with you I didn’t even know the Oscars were showing this past week-end. Which is a good thing because I was totally captivated by the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

I don’t even know what movie won best picture, which is amazing considering how much I used to love watching the show.

So to be honest with you, I really don’t give a rat’s ass about Will Smith popping Chris Rock with a pretty good right hand. But to Chris Rock’s credit he took the blow and didn’t flinch. Which I admire.

What in the world was going thru the mind of Will Smith? The GI Jane II joke wasn’t even that bad in my opinion. I try to say something more insulting about the fluffy Daily Cupcake at least once a day on my blog…which shouldn’t be a big deal as well. And they tease me back which I love because I don’t take myself that seriously.

Because if you don’t have a sense of humor in these times in which we live you’re going to find yourself pretty much screwed is my take.

Have we completely lost our ability as a culture to take a step back and be able to laugh at ourselves from time to time?

I was just stunned when I saw how Will Smith over-reacted. It was a silly joke. That’s what Chris Rock was supposed to be doing.

So if I were the judge and these two were brought in front of me in some sort of civil lawsuit my ruling would be this:

Will Smith stand up with your arms to your sides and keep them there. Chris Rock come over to Will Smith and rock him with the best right-hand cross you have.

That’s my ruling, gentlemen…and Will Smith, grow up a little.

The Court of the Honorable Judge Jackson is hereby adjourned.

After Dark

Kind of a tense day in Thunder Nation over the selfish win in Portland last night by Isiah Roby. I mean…for God’s sake, lose the damn game in the last minute. Be a team player. Either you have the goal of obtaining a difference making superstar through the tanking process or you don’t.

Sam Presti looked foolish last night.

This is not rocket science. It’s just basic math.

So if you have a process and your fan base supports you to obtain a superstar, then at the least stack the mathematical odds in your favor as best you can.

Traber and few of his listeners had some interesting takes. Some people who allow me to post on their Thunder Nation forums were not happy with the win.

I know it’s Oklahoma. But the earth is not flat. Donald Trump is not the messiah. 2+2 doesn’t equal five.

So here’s my question…at the beginning of the season both Barry Tramel and Jim Traber said it would be fiduciary malpractice if the Thunder didn’t tank this season.

So was that fiduciary malpractice last night in Portland?

As a graduate of the Bob Jackson School of Street Law…I would yes. This was fiduciary malpractice, but perhaps it was driven more by bad business judgement than a breach of loyalty and care to the shareholders.

I have no skin in this game so I’m pretty much the adult in the room on this one.

I think since the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks have no one on their team drafted higher than No. 15 in the NBA draft… I’m optimistic Sam Presti at the least can draft another beta to be the second or third best player moving forward.

But the Thunder need a superstar. A face of the franchise player a little better than Shai or Josh who can bring some mojo back to the market.

Sell some tickets. Get the Thunder back on national telecasts. Put some juice in the Thunder feel around town.

I think Jaylin Williams is better than Bobby Portis was back during his days at Arkansas. Jaylin would be a nice piece. Mark Williams would be a nice piece. Keegan Murray would be a redundant piece who does pretty much what Giddy and Shai do already.

Anyway…I’m going to listen to a little of the Godfather soundtrack, have a glass of wine, and be the voice of calm in Thunder Nation on this one.

Have a calm night through the storms later tonight.

But make no mistake about it…what we witnessed in Portland last night was a variant of fiduciary malpractice by Sam Presti since he’s calling the shots.

I doubt you will read anything like that on the Daily Cupcake. Not a chance.

You know why?

Sam Presti in essence controls the narrative on that ‘blog’ and in this market per his team. Nary a questioning voice or question.

Tell me I’m wrong.

Let’s look at this a bit deeper from the legal aspect of the various doctrines of fiduciary.

Did Sam Presti do his professional best to tank for his shareholders and board members? I would have to say no. He failed to weaken his roster sufficiently to lose enough games in the last three weeks of the season.

In essence … that is the principle of tanking to weaken the roster with premediated intent (mens rea) to lose an inordinate amount of games.

Did he breach his oaths of ‘legal care’ and ‘loyalty’ to his shareholders, investors, and ticket holders?

That’s a somewhat murky one from my view. I would say he didn’t breach these oaths unless there’s some evidence like in the case of the removal of the team from Seattle that comes to public light.

So was it just flawed or ‘bad business judgement’ to tank with a team this strong at the bottom third of the roster?

I was say yes, this was somewhat a flawed design by Sam Presti. But under the doctrine of ‘bad business judgment’ you probably don’t have a clear cut version of fiduciary malpractice. But more to the point…just careless or bad business judgment.

I think both Jim Traber and Barry Tramel need to do more research on the various doctrines of fiduciary malpractice.

You get it all on this Thunder blog, baby. No fluff, just the objective facts.

That’s why God moved me from the Daily Cupcake to the award winning

The objective truth matters.

Jaylin Williams Highlights vs. Texas A&M

Jaylin Williams…6’10” with guard skills who can hit the three, protect the rim and bang on the boards. He would be the center the Thunder have never had in their existence. He can switch on anything as well.

It puzzles me he isn’t listed higher than he is.

He played in a tough Power 5 conference and his team made the Elite 8 two years in a row.

I wonder where Sam Presti has Jaylin Williams on his draft board.

Plus, he exposed the Gonzaga Stickman in the Sweet 16.

Thunder Close in on 4th Position in Lottery Seed with Win in Portland, 134-131 OT

The semi tanking Oklahoma City Thunder for the second straight season have decided to start winning games at the end of the season. This makes no mathematical sense in the least. But then again, when in Oklahoma, does anything make any sense.

When Sam Anderson wrote about Operation Bongo in his book Boom Town this was the kind of municipal dysfunction he was trying to convey to his readers.

The Thunder winning these games late in the season would be akin to the Sooners in the land run falling asleep at the gun after camping out weeks for the best starting positions in the Land Run.

It seems odd a franchise would subject its fans to a second straight year of horrific tanking only to win games at the end to basically lower their odds of garnering a difference making player for the next decade.

In Portland on Monday night, the Semi-Tankers, with only eight players in uniform, somehow found a way to win over the equally bad Portland Trailblazers by a score 134-131 in overtime.

Little Nick Gallo and Michael Cage were squealing in delight on the Thunder telecast as if the Thunder had actually accomplished something of true value for the franchise.

And value is what this is all about at the end of the day as each time the Semi-Tankers win a game late in this season, they actually undermine the asset value of their own bottom-line.

This literally makes no sense unless Sam Presti is trying to make sure he won’t have to draft Chet Holmgren and then explain it afterward.

If he is winning these games to avoid the possibility of having to draft Chet Holmgren…I say bravo.

But this also of course means Paulo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, and Jabari Smith will already be removed from the draft board as well.

So maybe there’s a method of madness to what Sam Presti is doing here. Maybe Sam Presti has locked in on someone who he thinks will be available at the No. 5 or No. 6 positions in the draft.

Maybe he loves Keegan Murray from Iowa. Maybe he loves my sleeper Jaylin Williams from Arkansas. Maybe he thinks he can get Mark Williams from Duke with the Clippers pick and isn’t sweating any of this because he has no one to answer to in Oke City. You never know with Sam Presti because no one in the uber soft Oklahoma City sports market media ever takes the Thunder to task for anything on anything.

But I certainly know I’m not sweating any of this because I think the Thunder already have the framework in place to be pretty good next season with just a couple of transactions like getting rid of Derrick Favors salary, getting another scorer in the draft, and securing an athletic center who can run at the game pace of Josh Giddey.

So, while others in Thunder Nation are probably freaking out over these wins, I pretty much expected this with some of these games against Portland, Detroit, and Orlando back-ending the Thunder’s schedule.

Plus, it’s nice to see players like Isiah Roby, Theo Maledon, Aaron Wiggins, and Poku get rewarded for their hard work in the gym.

The fourth seed has the best mathematical possibility of securing the No. 6 seed.

So everyone in Thunderland should be thinking No. 6. instead of No. 1. Just like last season.

405 Baller’s Thunder Journal, Episode 2

Well…405, you certainly had a big week-end over at The Daily Cupcake. It is what it is. It’s not the same place. It isn’t the Wild West anymore. I’m guessing when Royce Young sold the blog he signed two different clauses…1 a clause to not compete clause, and 2 a self-castration clause which would tame down the Wild West and bring the overall tone more in line with Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood or The View.

It is what it is, but those were fun times when it was okay to have a sense of humor instead of the NY Times crossword puzzle.

Maybe Sam Anderson is consulting on the blog makeover. He and Royce Young are buds.

Let’s not dwell on this because it’s Final Four week and the NIT Final Four week as well. I’ve actually become a fan of St. Bonaventure after they beat OU and they play in the semi-finals tonight after beating Virginia on the road in Round 3.

It’s a wonderful time of the year to be a basketball fan.

Let’s go. My top six NBA picks as of this moment. I’m guessing we’re going to be fairly close given the mental notes I took from your posts before you lost your mind and were banned over there.

It happened to me as well. Been there, done that. Life goes on. I think you’ll find it a cleansing life change of sorts.

I’m going ….1 Paulo Banchero, 2 Jaden Ivey, 3 Jabari Smith, 4 Chet Holmgren, 5 Keegan Murray, and 6 Mark Williams.

The Sharpe kid from Kentucky doesn’t interest me. The Thunder don’t need another project, they need a basketball player. I’m not saying his athleticism should be ignored…I just think the Thunder with a smart draft are going to be in pretty good shape heading out of this summer.

Chet Holmgren? Why do I have him at four? I think he can be a good NBA player if he lands on a team where some of his limitations are hedged so to speak. I would worry about him if he gets drafted by a total shitshow team.

Consider the schedule he just played. Gonzaga in essence played nine legitimate games this season against Tournament caliber teams. These teams were… Texas, Duke, Alabama, Texas Tech, St. Mary’s three times, Memphis, and Arkansas. Gonzaga with Andrew Timme next to Chet creating time and space only went 5-4 in those games. If you pull out the three games versus St. Mary’s, they went 3-3.

I have Jaylin Williams from Arkansas circled as a sleeper in this draft. He’s a tough, smart kid who can do it all. I watched him play twelve times this season. Give me your thoughts on Jaylin next week.

Bill Self to the Thunder? Self has a $5.4-million-dollar buyout. I can’t remember what Billy Donovan’s buyout was when Presti snatched him away from the Florida Gators.

I just feel like if the Jayhawks ring the bell, this could be one of those times when a guy who’s been in the meatgrinder at Kansas for this long… might want a change of life move. His sister still lives in Edmond and as you know…the Thunder are a team on the cusp of being pretty good if they want to be.

Not a slight at Mark Daigneault, but “Just because you worked at a Taco Bell, doesn’t mean you should manage a Taco Bell.”

That’s it for me this morning. We’re headed off to Denver for the Final Four week-end to be with the grandchildren. My son lives five houses down from Monte Morris of the Nuggets in the lovely Bonnie Brae neighborhood which melds into the highly liberal Washington Park area of Denver.

Send me some notes for the ‘ Is Russell Westbrook a Greek Tragedy episode?’

Take care.

405 Baller Banned Again from Daily Cupcake: Episode 4 Out-takes

Big surprise there, eh? 405 Baller was banned again from the Daily Cupcake. Not like I didn’t call that one coming.

Not to fret though. Episode 2 was already on transcript from the production studio…where, by the way the El Prez NBA Oke City Podcast will make its debut next fall. It’s an exciting time…for certain.

Episode 3 of 405 Baller’s Thunder Journal will be a one topic episode scheduled to air on April 5. It will be a special one topic episode.

The episode being: Is Russell Westbrook a Greek Tragedy?

I was fooling around last night and sent 405 Baller this video from above…just to remind her I want Hubris. El Prez wants hubris. You can leave the estrogen at the doorstep of the feckless Daily Cupcake, but El Prez lives for hubris on his blog. No one gets banned on this blog.

Have a blessed spring day.

Hubert Davis and Tar Heels Advance to Final Four

This was a year ago when Coach Roy Williams handed over the reins of Tar Hell Nation to Hubert Davis. I’m very familiar with Coach Williams because he was the coach at Kansas during Billy Tubbs’ rein at OU. What a great back and forth that was between OU and Kansas.

Roy was actually coach at Kansas when Nick Collison was a Jayhawk.

Roy Williams was a coach I greatly respected even though he coached the hated Jayhawks. When Dean Smith retired it was obvious Roy Williams would be the next coach at North Carolina. My god…after Eddie Sutton came to O State some of those games vs. Kansas were absolute college basketball classics. Great memories.

So yesterday when Hurbert Davis took the floor with his team after their win over St. Peters and became emotional describing the journey with his initial Tar Heel team, which included former Sooner Brady Manek from Harrah, Oklahoma…I have to tell you I had a tear in my eye as well.

Because at the end of the day it’s so much more than the x’s and o’s, but the behind-the-scenes human stories attached to all of these players, coaches, parents, and other family members.

Duke vs. North Carolina in a national semi-final game on Coach K’s last hurrah. Who could have written this any better?

And on the other side of the Final Four we’ve got the two coaches I want Sam Presti to interview for the Thunder job…Bill Self and Jay Wright.

Bill Self is an Edmond kid. He played high school ball at Edmond Memorial. Then he played for Eddie Sutton at O State. Then became head coach at Oral Roberts. Then at Tulsa where he got the Golden Hurricane to the Sweet 16. Then he became head coach at Illinois before landing the dream job at Kansas. Dude’s a ball coach…trust me.

Bill Self’s father died this past year. It’s tough losing your dad. But here the Jayhawks stand at the cusp of another possible national championship.

America…we got the Final Four we were hoping to get.

405 Baller’s Thunder Journal Reset for Tuesday

405 Baller,

I’ve been reading through your posts this week and this is why I got on you last week like I did. This is what I think you’re capable of when you bring your ‘A’ game to the arena.

Your edge, your voice, and your command of your space is what I noticed about you in the beginning. I could care less that we disagree on Donald Trump. You have the very same right to embrace Donald Trump of which I have to disavow him as a grifter of historical proportions.


Why don’t we get to Trump in some later episodes would be my suggestion.

You gave me a lot of text to sift through this week-end as I was watching the Tournament.

On Tuesday your spot will be back in place with a new set feel video in place with Dr. Dre and Snoop.

I don’t want the set to be like the one at the Daily Cupcake. I want edge. I want the truth. I want the hubris.

Let the meek and feckless at the Daily Cupcake hide behind Thunder Girl if they must. That’s why I got banned by-the-way. I said that in a very direct manner which was spot on. Maybe too much hubris, eh?

Things I’ll touch on in response to your posts from this week:

1 Chet Holgren and why Gonzaga flamed in the round of sixteen.

2 My top five draft picks heading into the Final Four.

3 Why I think Bill Self would be the perfect fit in Oklahoma City. Coach Self’s buyout is $5.4 million. Since the Thunder haven’t paid much for a head coach these past two years that shouldn’t be a concern.

4 Why the Daily Thunder lost its identity and became nothing more than Little Nick

Thanks for the great posts and I’ll have the Journal up on Tuesday morning. Keep up the great work. Dude…you got some Glenda to you…and I mean that as a compliment.


El Prez

National Peacock Day…Part Two?

We get the Peacocks versus the Tar Heels in the second game of today’s Elite 8 showdowns.

I have mixed feelings. I love the whole Cinderella thing. but at this point, it’s going to be hard for me to root against former Sooner Brady Manek, who very much made the right decision to transfer to Chapel Hill for his Super Senior season. The beard fits him. He grew up in Harrah, Oklahoma and always wanted to be Sooner.

But Brady was a player whose true senior season was seriously impacted by getting Covid twice. Plus…when Coach Kruger retired… Brady didn’t really know Porter Moser. This is where I think the transfer portal genuinely helped a deserving player.

I love what the Peacocks have done, but I’m pulling for Brady today.

I’m conflicted in the first game as well with another former Sooner standing tall in the national spotlight… that being Kameron McGusty from Katy, Texas who signed on with Coach Kruger in 2015.

Kameron made All-Big 12 First Team Freshman team, then had a slightly regressive sophmore season at OU, then decided to transfer to Miami.

Kameron made 1st Team All-ACC this season and by using his Covid Super Senior status should be drafted somewhere in the top two rounds.

If I were Sooner Moj Gibson….I’d come back to Norman next season and allow Coach Porter to complete his player redo to get to the next professional level of play. Moj took a huge step this season, but with one more season of becoming a complete player…it could be worth it for him to come back for the Super Senior season.

On this one though, my Big 12 love will have me rooting for Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks. I’m hoping the Jayhawks win the national championship and then Coach Self meets with Sam Presti and explains how he could be the perfect fit with this group of young Thunder players.

This is where I’m hoping former Jayhawk Nick Collison has some sway with Presti on the Thunder moving forward. Bill Self’s personality would be perfect for these Thunder players. He exudes self-confidence, toughness, and swagger. If Presti actually had the balls to do something like this, it would profoundly change my opinion of him as an anal retentive micro neurotic GM.

One last thing I haven’t mentioned in relation to the ACC this season. Former Sooner Alondes Williams, who played behind Austin Reaves and Davion Harmon, transferred to Wake Forest last summer and was the ACC Player of the Year.

Fair to say…Lon Kruger’s recruiting and retirement had an impact on the ACC this basketball season.

But in the end…it worked out for the players at OU and the players who transferred minus Davion Harmon to Oregon which made no sense to me especially since he’s a Texas high school kid who made it tougher for his family to watch him play in person in Norman.